Spooky season came to Milwaukee early this year as monsters descended upon the city for the Midwest Haunters Convention.
A guillotine is a fitting cake topper, since it was the blade of one such contraption that took the head of Marie Antoinette – who may or may not have suggested the starving people of France eat cake – in 1793 during the bloody Reign of Terror.
It also seems fitting for a 40th birthday, when you’re becoming ever more aware of the blade looming overhead.
Of course, every day is memento mori here at Cult of Weird HQ, where I research and write about death on a daily basis while surrounded by skulls, taxidermy and vintage Ouija boards. That’s why Christina commissioned this macabre confectionary masterpiece to help me mourn the passing of another year, complete with a working, scale replica of a guillotine that was handmade by Mike Bodziak of Seriously Disgusting.
To celebrate the occasion (and distract from the matter of my birthday) here are five guillotine facts to supplement gratuitous photos of my guillotine cake:
- During the Reign of Terror, more than 16,500 people lost their heads on the guillotine – an average of 46 per day.
- Before his execution, German serial killer Peter Kurten is said to have asked, “After my head has been chopped off, will I still be able to hear, at least for a moment, the sound of my own blood gushing from my neck? That would be the best pleasure to end all pleasure.”
- The actual blade that beheaded Marie Antoinette is on display at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London.
- The last lawful execution by guillotine anywhere in the Western world took place in France in 1977.
- The man who built the guillotine, a piano maker named Tobias Schmidt, was denied a patent for his creation because granting that would have been distasteful and barbaric.
And now more guillotine cake photos:
The cake was inspired by baby Pubert’s first birthday cake in Addams Family Values, which has a dark brown and black Victorian motif, and is topped with a guillotine and a single black candle.
For my cake, the decorator piped in some black bats and Victorian flourishes, and even swirled in a swampy, almost “arsenic green” color into the frosting.
It’s brilliant and beautiful. Thank you, Christina!